THE first full council meeting by Waverley Borough Council’s new power-sharing executive hit choppy waters from the outset.

In stark contrast to the old guard’s ‘sea of blue’, the 23 Tories re-elected are now outnumbered by an alliance of 15 Farnham Residents, 14 Liberal Democrats, two Green Party, two Labour and one Independent.

The first jolt came at the start when questions could be put forward by members, and Cllr Richard Seaborne (Bramley, Cons) asked how Haslemere, Cranleigh and villages would get “adequate focus” in a new executive which was “drawn exclusively from Farnham and Godalming members”.

Mr Seaborne also queried how Dunsfold Park – the single largest new housing development in the borough — would get the “attention it deserves”.

Council leader Cllr John Ward (Farnham Residents) thanked Mr Seaborne for his “politically-motivated insinuation of bias”.

Mr Ward said he was confident councillors would “do their utmost” for all members of the borough and the new executive was working to progress Dunsfold Park’s plan in a “speedy manner”.

In a surprise twist, the new guard came under fire from a fellow member backed by Tory councillors, when full council was asked by executive to adopt its revised statement of community involvement.

Cllr Jerry Hyman (Farnham Residents) triggered a two-hour debate when he complained that because the current document expires next month it was being recommended for approval without involving the council’s watchdog overview and scrutiny committee.

Mr Hyman said he didn’t want to change the recommendation on the statement, but proposed an amendment to make some “housekeeping” corrections to make the rushed document “more acceptable”.

The amendment was not supported, but Cllr Stephen Mulliner (Haslemere, Cons) agreed that at this late stage it was “very difficult for people to make constructive comments”.

He added the document should have been put out “a good fortnight before” the meeting.

Members agreed the document should be looked at again by their officers to meet the August deadline, but brought back to full council in September in case it needed a formal review.

Cllr David Beaman (Farnham Residents) said: “It is essential the public are provided not just with the opportunity of involvement but can believe their voice is actually heard and is taken account of.”

The meeting agreed to reintroduce the right to ask questions ‘on the night’ in the public slot without having to submit them in advance of the meetings.

Deputy leader Paul Follows (Godalming, Lib Dem) said it was part of the new administration’s desire to increase engagement.